5 Things You Wish They Had Told You Before You Became An Executive Assistant

So you’ve dreamed of becoming an executive assistant, but are you aware of everything you need in order to do your job effectively? You are the right hand of the executive and you are necessary to keep everything running smoothly in the company. You’re there to make the executive look good. Below are a few items you probably wish you knew before you started.

1.You must be a Superhero.

As an executive assistant you must be ready to tackle whatever comes down the road.  Actually – you will need to anticipate what’s ahead and proactively prevent the crisis. You need to work independently with high attention to detail. And, you must be ready to solve multiple problems all at once. Are you sure you aren’t Wonder Woman or Superman?

2. Is juggling in my job description?

You are responsible for managing your executive’s time.  It’ll be up to you to schedule priorities and rearrange the boss’s calendar to accommodate any urgent matter.  How quickly can you respond and move things around without offending anyone?

3. Are there more than 24 hours in a day?

When the executive works, you work. And the executive works all the time to keep the business advancing. You might be on call 24/7 – especially if your boss needs to travel. Are you the person who gets contacted when the plane gets delayed and the connecting flight is missed? Do you need to be available to link the conference call with someone from another time-zone?

4. Mails, mails, mails.  

Who would have thought that there would be so much correspondence?  Not just your e-mails, but someone else’s. You’ll need a system to weed through them all. Here’s a way to categorize them:

  • Urgent: Handle these first and as soon as possible.
  • Less Urgent: Respond soon (try to set a due date for yourself for each mail).
  • Follow-Ups:  Matters to work on so things don’t fall through the cracks.
  • To-Do’s:  Items you need to take care of (set a due date for these also)

5. Keeper of the secrets.

Working for an executive will make you privy to many company secrets. How easy will it be for you to not respond to a co-worker who is asking about the future of the company? Can you still smile politely knowing there are layoffs just down the road? It’s nice to be “in the know”, but can you really keep a secret?

An executive assistant is a key position in all organizations. You are the “go to” person for anyone who wants to meet with your executive.  You’ll be the one deciding who gets to see the boss – when and for how long. The executive will rely on you and value your opinion. Truthfully – you are – the real power behind the throne.


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